...this Lumix DMC-TS2 would be it!
I was looking for a camera I could take with me to the beach or rafting without ever worrying about it. I wanted something I could drop in a backpack, leave it on the sand and take it in the sea without giving it a second thought. By now I am a satisfied PANASONIC/Lumix customer, ever since my favorite FZ28K (the most convenient creativity camera) and my trusted TZ8 (the perfect city-tourist camera).
So, when, after all the research it came between this camera and the Olympus Stylus Tough-8000, I showed some brand-name loyalty and went with the Lumix. And the important thing is that I never regretted it.
This camera comes with a very bright wide-angle 28mm Leica lens which is optically stabilized, capturing on a 14.1MP sensor and an adequate 4.6x zoom (128mm). Typical for a Lumix, it has a working intelligent Auto (iA) setting that gives you a piece of mind: perfect photos every time, without having to fidget with the settings.
Departing from the auto settings, the camera offers almost 20 shooting modes, 5 color modes, 6 focus modes and decent aperture range (f/3.3 to f/10) and shutter speeds (8 to 1/1300).
The camera is Waterproof up to 10m/33ft (which means you can safely take it splashing and snorkeling but not diving without an extra casing). So far, neither condensation nor sand have slipped through the seals.
It is also advertised to be Shockproof to drops up to 2m/6.6ft and Freeze-proof -10C (claims I have yet to test - no, I am not putting it in the freezer, it will have to wait 6 months for the slopes to open!).
For such a small lens (and such a dense sensor - will the MegaPixel-war ever cease?) there is surprisingly little noise. Given enough light the pictures are flawless. When indoors or with limited light the ISO will increase and so will the noise. I can understand such things to be important to photography enthusiasts but for the purposes I bought it, this is an excellent camera.
I don't usually use my photo camera for videos but it is nice to know the option is there. The video (up to 1280x720) can be captured either in AVCHD Lite format or AVI (make sure to have a large enough memory card if saving in AVI). As an added bonus, you can zoom while shooting a video and (almost) no whirring noise registers.
My only gripes are that the position of the lens is something I had to get used to (unless I wanted to both include my left hand in the shot and leave smudges on the lens) and that there is no viewfinder. Understandable for a compact camera but having the sun behind you will test the anti-glare capability of the 2.7' LCD.
The camera comes in 4 colors: inox-gray, royal-blue, metallic-yellow and safety-orange. I opted for the later out of vanity (it... matches the orange details of my summer watch) - but as an added bonus it is really easy to find even if it has slipped to the bottom of your backpack.
An excellent action camera that is actually Made in Japan.